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Saturday
August 2019
6:43 AM IST
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I find nets claustrophobic, prefer centre wicket for match simulation: Kohli        Rahane's 81 only saving grace in India 203 for 6 on day 1        No more dessert names, Google to officially call new OS 'Android 10'        Sensex, Nifty rebound on hopes of FPI tax rollback        Despite tensions, Pak stands ready to open Kartarpur Corridor: Qureshi        Two Govt hospitals in Pak deny specialised ambulance facility to Sharif        UN, France raise concern over Amazon wildfires 'crisis'        INX Media: SC grants interim protection to Chidambaram in ED case; no relief in CBI matter        Always said demonising Modi wrong: Singhvi        Alert in Tamil Nadu after intel of Lashkar terrorists' intrusion        FM proposes measures to enhance fund flows for infra, housing projs        FATF Asia-Pacific Group puts Pakistan in terror 'blacklist': Officials        Vivek Oberoi to star in film on Balakot air strikes        It's better to get hit early and hard: Kohli on bouncers        Messi 'made me better player', says Ronaldo        Nirav Modi to appear via videolink for remand hearing in UK        Rupee slips 17 paise to 71.72 vs USD in early trade        US seeking balancing act in South Asia over Kashmir: Report        Pro-growth RBI minutes to cap yields; revives expectations for further policy easing        N Korea dismisses nuclear talks if US 'hostile military moves' continue        
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Sports News
Let the action begin: Mighty India face low on confidence South Africa
 
Southampton: Virat Kohli will embark on the most defining journey of his international career, carrying the hopes of more than a billion when he leads India against an injury-hit South Africa in their World Cup opener here Wednesday. Kohli is one of the best batsmen of this era but this edition of the World Cup will define his legacy as a leader, an aspect on which the jury is still out despite some heady achievements in the Test arena. The current team does have potent match-winners with the skipper himself being the biggest of them all but it still misses the aura, the ''class of 2011'' under Mahendra Singh Dhoni had.

Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were in a different league with the support cast comprising Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Suresh Raina and a young Kohli. But this team, led by Kohli and mentored by Dhoni, has had its share of good results and six wins in nine games would ensure a smooth passage into the semi-finals. Two years of investment has gone into building a potent ODI squad, something that started right after the 2017 Champions Trophy final loss against Pakistan.

The ''Men In Blue'' have had adequate rest. All other teams have already played two games each and they can''t wait to kick-start their campaign with a commanding performance. The first match in a tournament of such vast magnitude is always important and South Africa''s confidence will be at its lowest following back-to-back defeats against England and Bangladesh. To make matters worse, senior speedster Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury and has been replaced by left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi is also out for at least tomorrow''s game with a hamstring strain. Hashim Amla got a nasty hit on the helmet off Jofra Archer''s short ball against England in the opening game. The clash couldn''t possibly have been more well-timed as India have a chance to hold the Proteas by the scruff of their neck when they are seemingly at their weakest.

However, a cornered opponent is always a dangerous proposition and head coach Ravi Shastri, a shrewd tactician by all means, will be surely making the players aware of the consequences of taking their foot off the pedal. The pitch at the Ageas Bowl stadium in Southampton, devoid of grass cover, is expected to be a batting-friendly but Kohli will have a few points to ponder upon as the weather forecast on match day indicates cloud cover with intermittent shower. Will a third seamer in Bhuvneshwar Kumar come into the picture? Does Ravindra Jadeja''s warm-up matches'' form get more credence than Kuldeep Yadav-Yuzvendra Chahal''s 22-month show in tandem? Does Kedar Jadhav fit in without playing a single game for a month or Vijay Shankar gets a look in? These are some of the pressing questions that skipper Kohli needs to address going into the first game.

There''s no doubt that the Proteas are badly hit by poor form and injuries but it may just take one fiery spell from Kagiso Rabada to straighten things up. A bit of help from the weather conditions with his scorching pace and ability to move the ball, Rabada could just unsettle the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who haven''t had the best of times during the past few months. Both are capable of turning the match on its head but they could be short on confidence due to lack of runs since the start of the away ODIs against Australia. Rohit''s apparent weakness against leg-spinners could be exploited by rival captain Faf du Plessis, who can again think of giving the new ball to Imran Tahir. KL Rahul is expected to take the No. 4 slot but it needs to be seen as to how well he performs when the condition are nippy. Dhoni at No 5 will be the stabilising factor and if he bats like the Bangladesh warm-up game, he can be a nightmare for the Proteas attack.

But what will be a bigger worry for Du Plessis will be the batting where AB de Villiers'' absence has surely had an impact. The poor technique of Proteas batsmen against slow bowlers have been time and again exposed and 20 overs of quality spin bowling could be too hot to handle for the South Africans. In all, it''s advantage India at Southampton. Teams (from): India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, David Miller, Beuran Hendricks , Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pertorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamshi, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Rassie van der Dussen. Match Starts: 3 pm IST.


I find nets claustrophobic, prefer centre wicket for match simulation: Kohli
Rahane's 81 only saving grace in India 203 for 6 on day 1
It's better to get hit early and hard: Kohli on bouncers
Messi 'made me better player', says Ronaldo
Kumble should be chairman of selectors but BCCI needs to raise pay: Sehwag
Nagal moves to second round of US Open Qualifying event
PCB keen on appointing Misbah as Pakistan's coach-cum-chief selector
Rhodes, incumbents appear for Indian support staff interviews
Sakshi Malik issued show cause notice by WFI for indiscipline
Geet Sethi overcomes spirited Atit Shah at snooker meet
Australia's Smith out of second Ashes Test with concussion
Hima wins gold in 300m in Czech Republic
AITA on sticky wicket ahead of talks with ITF security consultants
Deepa Malik joins Bajrang for Khel Ratna, cricketer Jadeja among 19 for Arjuna
Mary Kom recuses herself from Saturday's sports award meeting
Ravi Shastri reappointed head coach of Indian team till 2021
Archer strikes as Australia slump to 80-4 in second Ashes Test
India beat England to win inaugural T20 Physical Disability World Series
Gayle walks off in style after sizzling knock, may have played his last
Six candidates including Shastri shortlisted for India''s head coach post
KERALA NEWS
Malayalam actor, film crew stranded in Himachal village
 Thiruvananthapuram: A 30-member film crew from Kerala, including award-winning actress Manju Warrier  
Ex-Deputy Commandant of AR camp held in connection with constable's death
"More flights to Kerala from Gulf countries during Onam"
Flood in Kerala: CM conducts aerial survey
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Despite tensions, Pak stands ready to open Kartarpur Corridor: Qureshi
 Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said that despite tensions with India, it stands ready to open the Kar
Two Govt hospitals in Pak deny specialised ambulance facility to Sharif
UN, France raise concern over Amazon wildfires 'crisis'
US seeking balancing act in South Asia over Kashmir: Report
NATIONAL NEWS
INX Media: SC grants interim protection to Chidambaram in ED case; no relief in CBI matter
 New Delhi: Congress leader and former union finance minister P Chidambaram was on Friday granted pro
Always said demonising Modi wrong: Singhvi
Alert in Tamil Nadu after intel of Lashkar terrorists' intrusion
FATF Asia-Pacific Group puts Pakistan in terror 'blacklist': Officials
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